Mark C. Cesa , Vitor Francisco Ferreira , Jonathan E. Forman , Cheng Tang , Christopher M. Timperley , Camly Tran and Bernard West

OPCW-IUPAC Workshop on Innovative Technologies for Chemical Security

De Gruyter | Published online: July 27, 2018

Abstract

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine of the USA, the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, and the Brazilian Chemical Society held a workshop: “Innovative Technologies for Chemical Security”, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 3 to 5 July 2017. This event was part of a four workshop series held to inform the report of the OPCW Scientific Advisory Board on developments in science and technology to the Fourth Review Conference of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which will be held in November 2018. The workshop explored the potential of new technologies to enhance capabilities for the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. There is a continuing need for recognition that emerging scientific developments can have beneficial applications with respect to implementation of the Convention, particularly in prevention of re-emergence of chemical weapons. The objectives of this workshop were to present, discuss and critically evaluate the emergence and practical applications of new and existing technologies – as tools for detecting biochemical change in complex environments – and the applications of these technologies in support of chemical disarmament and chemical security. This issue of Pure and Applied Chemistry presents a series of papers that originate from topics discussed in the workshop. This preface describes the scientific review process for the Chemical Weapons Convention and how it was supported by the Rio de Janeiro workshop, as well as introducing the papers in the collection and their corresponding authors.

Overview

In preparation for the Fourth Review Conference of the Chemical Weapons Convention (an international disarmament treaty that bans chemical weapons) [1, 2], which is to be held in November 2018, the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) recognized that relevant developments in science and technology may be overlooked if the scientific review process limited itself to purely chemical-specific information. To bring new ideas and perspectives on new technologies, the SAB sought to broaden the engagement with experts outside of chemical disarmament communities by holding a series of four international workshops to complement its regular programme of work (which includes annual meetings, intersessional reports and thematic working groups) [3]. These international workshops were made possible with funding from the European Union [4], and they allowed the SAB to engage with a broad range of experts to gather new perspectives on technological capabilities.

The workshop on emerging technologies, held under the title “Innovative Technologies for Chemical Security” in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 3 to 5 July 2017, illustrates the value of engaging with scientific sectors beyond those traditionally associated with chemical disarmament. It allowed productive discussions and ideas to be generated amongst 45 participants from 22 different countries. The workshop was organized by the OPCW, IUPAC, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine of the USA [5], the Brazilian Academy of Sciences [6], and the Brazilian Chemical Society [7]. It is from this workshop that the collection of papers in this issue of Pure and Applied Chemistry has come forth.

The workshop objectives were to present, discuss and critically evaluate the emergence and practical applications of new and existing technologies as tools for detecting biochemical change in complex environments, and the applications of these technologies in support of chemical disarmament and chemical security. The papers presented in this issue of Pure and Applied Chemistry summarize and expand upon presentations at the workshop, and related topics. The thematic content of the workshop included insights into the implementation of the Convention from international chemical weapon inspectors, the use of vegetation (and the environment as a whole) as sensing systems to recognize biochemical change, large scale environmental and international monitoring systems and capabilities, chemical sensing, mobile and wearable technologies, point of care devices, digital health, the collection of data in remote and dangerous environments, and computer-aided engineering tools. The participants further discussed the content of the presentations in a series of breakout discussions that considered enhancing the capabilities of chemical weapons inspectors; standoff detection and early warning systems; collecting and integrating data streams; and opportunities for new technologies in implementation of the Convention. A detailed summary of the workshop can be found in the report prepared by the SAB [8]. The discussions from the workshop informed recommendations from the SAB to the Fourth Review Conference of the Chemical Weapons Convention [9].

The workshop targeted a continuing need for the recognition that emerging scientific developments can have applications beneficial to the implementation of the Convention, particularly in prevention of re-emergence of chemical weapons. The science, technology and engineering discussed extended well beyond the traditional fields of chemistry, while containing an aspect of chemistry as an integral component.

The Papers

Chemistry and Diplomacy, by Jonathan Forman and Christopher Timperley introduces the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. It explains the role of the Scientific Advisory Board, as an independent science advice mechanism, and its role in preparation for the Fourth Review Conference.

Innovative Technologies for Chemical Security, by Jonathan Forman, Christopher Timperley and the 24 other members of the SAB at the time of the workshop. The paper provides an overview of the Rio de Janeiro workshop, describing the thematic areas discussed, their potential applications in chemical security, and how innovation might benefit disarmament communities.

Central Nervous System (CNS) Acting Chemicals in the Chemical Weapons Convention, by Robert Mathews, describes the types and properties of chemicals that have been referred to as Incapacitating Chemical Agents, including opioids of the fentanyl class, and their relevance to the Chemical Weapons Convention. It argues that the term Central Nervous System Acting Chemicals is a more accurate and appropriate description of psychochemicals such as the fentanyls, which will hopefully facilitate more constructive discussions within the OPCW.

Reconstructing chemical plumes from stand-off detection data of airborne chemicals using atmospheric dispersion models and data fusion, by Oscar Björnham, Håkan Grahn, and Niklas Brännström, presents an analysis of the sulfur dioxide emissions produced by a fire set by Daesh (Islamic State) on 20 October 2016 at the Al-Mishraq sulfur mine during the battle of Mosul. By incorporating a long-range dispersion model, a source term was found that gave rise to the best reproduction of the measured sulfur dioxide concentration fields over the affected areas. The simulation data used a probit analysis to estimate the risk to human health at ground level.

Targeted Catalytic Degradation of Organophosphates: Pursuing Sensors, by Leandro Hostert, Renan B. Campos, Jéssica E. Fonsaca, Valmi B. Silva, Sirlon F. Blaskievicz, José G. L. Ferreira, Willian Takarada, Naiane Naidek, Yane H. Santos, Leonardo Nascimento, Aldo J. G. Zarbin and Elisa S. Orth, describes the use of catalysts for degrading organophosphorus pesticides to produce sensors for these chemicals. Sensors of this type may also have potential use for detection of organophosphorus nerve agents. Professor Orth’s work focuses on targeted functionalization of graphene oxide and carbon nanotubes combined with metallic nanoparticles to prepare nanocatalysts for organophosphorus compound degradation. Thin films of these nanocatalysts show potential as surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy sensors.

Chem/Bio Wearable Sensors: Current and Future Directions, by Richard Ozanich, reviews existing and emerging wearable sensors for chemical and biological threat agents, identifying the essential enabling developments, expected capabilities, and key challenges, both as self-monitoring and environmental sensors.

Potential of Hyperspectral Imaging to Detect and Identify the Impact of Chemical Warfare Compounds on Plant Tissue, by Matheus Thomas Kuska, Jan Behmann and Anne-Katrin Mahlein: Plant physiological and histological changes can be assessed by optical sensors. The most promising methods include hyperspectral sensing, thermography, chlorophyll fluorescence and 3D-imaging. Thereby, hyperspectral imaging offers insights into plant processes, e.g. during pathogenesis or abiotic stresses.

Collection and Processing Samples in Remote and Dangerous Places; the Environmental Sample Processor as a Case Study, by James Birch, describes methods for collecting water samples in remote or dangerous places to help identify chemical spills, discover clandestine weapons production, or determine possible biological contamination of waterways. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) has developed the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP), a microbiology laboratory-in-a-can, that allows extended presence with high frequency sampling. In addition to detecting harmful algae blooms and the toxins they produce, the ESP now has expanded analytical capabilities. A newer version of the ESP is now being tested on an autonomous underwater vehicle.

Low-Cost Monitoring Buoys Network Tracking Biogeochemical Changes in Lakes and Marine Environments – A Regional Case Study, by Alejandro J. Vitale, Gerardo M.E. Perillo, Sibila A. Genchi, Andrés H. Arias and M. Cintia Piccolo, describes the main features and innovations of a low-cost monitoring buoys network deployed in a temperate region of Argentina to record an extended time series at high-frequency.

Advice from the Scientific Advisory Board of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on Isotopically Labelled Chemicals and Stereoisomers in Relation to the Chemical Weapons Convention, by Christopher Timperley, Jonathan Forman and the 24 other members of the SAB in 2016. This paper provides an example of science advice for policy, focusing on a request for advice on how isotopically labeled variants and stereoisomers of chemicals defined on a schedule that indicates verification obligations should be handled. The paper provides an example of how fundamental concepts from chemistry impact regulatory issues and how science advice is communicated and translated into policy decisions. The paper provides an example of a nation whose legislation on compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention was updated after receiving and considering advice from the SAB.

The organizing committee and authors of this preface

Mark Cesa, International Union of Pure Applied Chemistry

Dr. Mark C. Cesa served as President of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry in 2014–2015. He has been Chair of the IUPAC Committee on Chemistry and Industry and of the US National Committee for IUPAC. In the American Chemical Society, he has been Chair of the Cleveland Local Section, Councilor from the Chicago Section, a member of the ACS Committee on Chemical Safety, and chair of the ACS Committee on Science. He was named an ACS Fellow in 2012. Dr. Cesa is a physical organic/organometallic chemist with research interests in homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis and organic reaction kinetics and mechanisms. His career in the chemical industry focused on new catalytic reactions, polymerization, and chemical process optimization. Dr. Cesa retired from INEOS Nitriles at the end of 2015, where he was Process Chemistry Consultant. Dr. Cesa earned an A.B. in chemistry at Princeton University, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in organic chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Jonathan E. Forman, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

Dr. Jonathan Forman currently holds the post of Science Policy Adviser at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), also serving as the Secretary to OPCW’s Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Forman holds a Bachelor’s of Science in chemistry from the California State University at San Bernardino and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology. After completing his graduate studies in 1996, Dr. Forman worked for a series of biotechnology companies developing molecular diagnostic and bioanalytical assay technologies for genomic, immunoassay, and cell capture applications; eventually becoming an independent consultant for process and product development of chip-based assay platforms. His professional interests include assessment of emerging technologies, bringing effective science advice into policy making, and science diplomacy. Dr. Forman has been at the OPCW since March of 2013.

Vitor Francisco Ferreira, Fluminense Federal University

Professor Vitor F. Ferreira is full professor at Fluminense Federal University in Rio de Janeiro where he is the Dean of Research and Graduate Programs. His research group focus on four large areas: synthesis of antiviral compounds, development of synthetic methodologies by using diazocompounds, synthesis of bioactive naphthoquinones and development of chiral auxiliaries and catalysts for asymmetric synthesis. He is former president of the Brazilian Chemistry Society and currently is a member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences and fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. In 2009 was admitted to the National Order of Scientific Merit in the grade of Commander by the President of Brazil.

Cheng Tang, Office for the Disposal of Japanese Abandoned Chemical Weapons, Ministry of National Defence, China

Mr. Cheng Tang is currently an adviser to the Chinese National Authority with regard to chemical weapon related issues and disposal of Japanese abandoned chemical weapons.

He provided technical advice to the Chinese Delegations during the Chemical Weapons Convention text negotiations in Geneva and to the Expert Group meetings of the Preparatory Commission of the OPCW. His relevant areas of expertise are chemical weapons/munitions (Mr. Tang was a qualified OPCW group A inspector), chemical protection, chemical demilitarization and verification.

Christopher M. Timperley, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

Dr. Christopher Timperley was elected Chairperson of the OPCW Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) in June 2015 and is currently serving in his second term as a SAB member. Dr. Timperley had been appointed to the SAB in 2013 and became Vice-Chairperson that same year, the year the OPCW won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Dr. Timperley has contributed to the SAB’s Temporary Working Groups on the Convergence of Chemistry and Biology, Education and Outreach, and Verification. He has given presentations to diplomats, national authorities, industry, and the Executive Council at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague, and to states parties to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention at the UN Office in Geneva, on the work of the SAB and OPCW.

Dr. Timperley is a Technical Fellow for Chemistry, at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), Porton Down, UK, where he has worked for 23 years. He conducts research into improved means of chemical defence in support of the strategic goals of the OPCW. He has a PhD from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (1995) and a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Sheffield (1991). He has authored over 75 peer-reviewed papers on chemical defence topics and a book on organophosphorus chemistry. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2007. He served as a UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) weapons inspector in 1997.

Camly Tran, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Camly Tran joined the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in 2014 as a postdoctoral fellow after receiving her Ph.D. in chemistry from the Department of Chemistry at Brown University and is currently a Program Officer. She received various honors including the Division of Earth and Life Studies Award (2016), Elaine Chase Award for Leadership and Service (2015), American Chemical Society Global Research Exchanges Education Training Program (2014), and the Rhode Island NASA grant (2013).

Dr. Tran completed the workshop summary and report of Mesoscale Chemistry (2015) and the Changing Landscape of Hydrocarbon Feedstocks for Chemical Production (2016). She has also supported the consensus studies: Spills of Diluted Bitumen from Pipelines: A Comparative Study of Environmental Fate, Effects, and Response (2016); Chemical Laboratory Safety and Security: A Guide to Developing Standard Operating Procedures (2016); Effective Chemistry Communication in Informal Environments (2016); and Communicating Chemistry: A Framework for Sharing Science: A Practical Evidence-Based Guide (2016). She is currently supporting activities on chemistries of the microbiomes, chemical weapons, and chemical precursors for improvised explosive devices.

Bernard West, Westworks Consulting Limited, Canada

Bernard West holds BSc and PhD degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Manchester, where he also taught for 6 years. He was CEO of CANSOLV Technologies of Montreal, President and COO, Canada Colors and Chemicals Limited. Prior to that, he had 30 years of experience in the chemical industry with Rhone-Poulenc, Imperial Oil [Esso] and Polymer Corporation.

Bernard has also been very active in industry associations and industry-government bodies; Chair of the Board of the Canada’s Chemical Producers Association, Chair of The Chemical Institute of Canada, Chair of the Society of Chemical Industry–Canadian Section, Member of the Board of the National Association of Chemical Distributors (Washington, DC, USA). He chaired the Board of Ontario BioAuto Council and the Sustainable Chemistry Alliance, both start-up funding initiatives.

Bernard is currently President of Westworks Consulting Limited and Chair of the IUPAC Committee on Chemical Industry. He is a member of the boards of Sulco Chemicals Ltd, Toronto and Haygain Limited, Lambourn UK. He is a Vice-Chair of the BioIndustrial Centre/Sustainable Chemistry Alliance, a member of the Board of Life Sciences Ontario, and Co-Chair of the Canadian Green Chemistry and Engineering Network.

References

[1] More information about the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons can be found at: https://www.opcw.org/. Search in Google Scholar

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[4] This funding was provided through Project III (Science and Technology: Assessment of Developments in Science and Technology) of EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/259 dated 17 February 2015. For further information see: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2015.043.01.0014.01.ENG. Search in Google Scholar

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Published Online: 2018-07-27
Published in Print: 2018-10-25

©2018 IUPAC & De Gruyter. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. For more information, please visit: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/